Will Scheid raising money for Guatemalan students

Margo Graff

Since fourth grade, Will Scheid has helped build a kitchen, played with little children at orphanages and hospitals, and worked with the Common Hope to build houses in Guatemala.

Eight years ago, Scheid’s mom decided that she would like to move to a different country with new and different opportunities. “My mother wanted an adventure and thought that living in a Latin American country would provide many volunteering opportunities and would be a good way learn a different language,” said Scheid. Considering countries like Honduras and Nicaragua, the Scheids finally chose Guatemala as their new home.

After living with a host family in Antigua for four months, Scheid and his family ended up staying and buying their own house. While in Antigua, Scheid attended the most prestigious school. “I was the only American, and all my classes were in Spanish; it was really hard,” said Scheid.

Coming back halfway through eighth grade, Scheid had to repeat all English classes, as well as the first half of eighth grade. “The cool thing was that I became completely fluent in Spanish and many people couldn’t tell that it was my second language,” said Scheid.

Scheid’s most recent visit back to Guatemala, October 9-18, gave him the chance to be a translator at the Monte Pedro Hospital in Antigua. “The language barrier was hard at times because many of the patients spoke Cakchiquel, an ancient Mayan language, so there would have to be one translator to translate the Cakchiquel into Spanish, so I could translate it into English,” said Scheid.

Many Guatemalans unfortunately are very ignorant about basic health care and rarely get chances to see a doctor. “One woman was convinced that she had a tumor because she had a stomach, and another thought she had heart problems because every time she ran her heart would beat fast,” said Scheid.

Starting his own project last year, Scheid has been raising money for scholarships, books, and uniforms for students who attended his old school, Colegio Antigua. “Through sending emails and cards, I have been able to supply two students with a full paid tuition, books and uniforms, totaling about $2,000,” said Scheid.

With Scheid’s old teacher’s help, Scheid selected Americo and Jamaico to be apart of this program. “We really tried to find students who had a stable family life and wanted to learn, but were unable to receive a private education,” said Scheid.

Having had the opportunity to meet both of the students’ fathers, Scheid got to see firsthand how grateful the families were for providing them with these scholarships. Making sure that students in Guatemala realize the importance of education is has become a necessity for Scheid. “One family I knew, who was being sponsored by Common Hope, the parents let their children stop going to school because they would rather play outside. If parents don’t know that education is important neither will their kids,” said Scheid.